How to stop being profiled by twitter

If you’re on twitter, then there is a lot of data that you provide to them, based on the tweets you write, the tweets you like and retweet, and the ones you read and share as well.

All this data leads to twitter doing some analysis of your activity and giving you some “interests”… here’s the top of my list:

The start of my list of automatically generated “interests” on Twitter

I didn’t create this list. Twitter did. If you want to see what interests twitter thinks you are interested in, then click here for your twitter interests lists.

If you’re anything like me, it’ll have a range of things on there that are either out of date, or particularly random. For example, I haven’t touched Animal Crossing in about 6 months, because I have moved on from it, so why it’s still an “interest” I don’t know. Also “Authors” and “Arts & Culture” are massive interests and could encompass anything here so what does that really mean?

The list is several hundred entries long. There is no “uncheck/untick all” button. I have to manually go through them all to remove them. Nobody can be bothered.

So I wrote some javascript that you can run in the browser that “unchecks” all your interests. There’s a twitter API limit so you can’t just uncheck them all at once (or the API throws a wobbly, which is fair) so you have to go over each checkbox, uncheck it, and then wait a bit before doing the next one.

The gist for the code is here:

To run this, and uncheck all your twitter interests:

  1. Open up Developer Tools in your browser (Firefox “Web Developer Tools” or Chrome “Developer Tools”) and then go to the javascript “Console” (usually the second tab in the pane)
  2. Copy and paste the code above into the javascript console and then run it (press enter or run, depending on how you’re setup)
  3. Watch the console messages, and if you see error messages saying that the Twitter API is sending errors, then refresh the page, and go back to step 3. This should have unchecked some of your interests already and then start further down the list. You may have to do this more than once.
  4. All done! You now have unchecked all your twitter interests. If you wish, you could check the ones you want to tell twitter you are interested in, or just leave it.
  5. Come back whenever you want, and run this script again (assuming twitter don’t change the interface so that it fails — if so, the code is right there and very simple so update it yourself and comment below).

That’s it.

Simple really.

Hope this helps anyone that cares about this kind of thing.



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Paul Johnston

ServerlessDays CoFounder (Jeff), ex AWS Serverless Snr DA, experienced CTO/Interim, Startups, Entrepreneur, Techie, Geek and Christian